March 3, Monday evening -- Reading Jon Krakauer

At Mission Creek Coffee on Valencia Street (named after the creek that used to run through the neighborhood)

(I love that there's a hand writing in the background in almost the same posture as he's holding the book--the cause and effect, sort of. If it was Krakauer's hand.)

Reading Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer and, in tandem, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau.

He likes going backpacking, though not to the extreme of Krakauer's subject, Alexander Supertramp. He grew up camping and goes all around this area. A place of note--he likes the Sierra foothills near Colfax. It's just stellar. There's something for people of all levels of backpacking experience--he can take his experienced friends and walk upstream and his non experienced friends and walk down stream). There are no bugs, you don't even need a tent, and the water is clean.

An outdoor book he recommends--101 Hikes of Northern California, by Matt Heid, which has at least 20 totally awesome hikes in it; CA guides to edible plants; and the Ohlone Way
: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area, by Malcolm Margolin.

He also recommends the Foxfire book series, which was put together in the early 70s by an English teacher somewhere on the Southeast coast. It started out of a project to get high school students involved with elders. The kids would interview elderly people in rural areas about how to, for instance, tan leather, make a stone fireplace or a single board musket.

What started as a class project grew into something bigger. They published magazines and then books, which told not only the how to, but included sections on ghost stories, home remedies, other interests.

The books show a contrast between people just two generations apart. People who were used to living off of raw materials and buying just a few staples to people who are incapable of anything but pulling out their credit card. A huge change in just two generations.

He gets most of his books through friend recommendations and from a woman he tutors in math who works at a bookstore in South City. He tutors her and she gives him a book or buys him a beer....sometimes both! A couple of weeks ago he read a book she gave him about falcons. And there was Julia Child's autobiography which was awesome and fun to read.

The book he feels most compelled to recommend is The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History, by Howard Bloom, a cultural commentator and child prodigy who, at the age of twelve was having dialog with physicists...but then later in life he walked out of academia and started a pop culture PR firm. The book is about human nature, why people exist and why we have wars and how peace always turns to war. He doesn't agree with everything in the book, but he liked how it enunciated things that he had had inklings of, things he hadn't realized how to flush out.

If he were to write his own book, it'd probably be a biography of an eccentric person in history. Maybe Rasputin, who he's read books about. None of the books seem to agree on who he really was and how much power he really had.


Elvie said...

what a fantastic idea for a blog!!!
i cannot congratulate you enough.

Phil Zerkel said...

Nice meeting you Sonya. That was fun to chat about books. I thought of a book you should read right after you left. I found in the garbage a while back (which is where I have gotten a lot of good books!). Its called The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace. Its an account of identical twins who are truly fascinating, if not a little disturbing.

aliqot said...

Into the Wild? Is that the book about the guy who ended up starving to death in an old bus, after paring his life down to almost nothing? If so, I read it last summer while on vacation in Maine.

This blog makes you meet such varied and interesting people, and it's such a good way to find out more than the superficial.

Jen said...

Elvie took the words right out of my mouth. What an awesome idea for a blog!

davE said...

Thank you. Stumbling upon this blog must have been fate. I have been meaning to pick up my dusty books for a good session of reading and this site has provided me with the motivation to do so. Thanks again.

kat said...

Your blog is fun and interesting! I rarely get to see people reading books when I go out (unless they're students). Mostly people here in my country turn to magazines or newspapers. Still, everytime I do see someone reading for pleasure, I feel happy. Cheers!

Kerry Ashwin said...

George Dawson said it all Sonya, Life is so good. Your blog proves that cause people are reading.
Thanks for an original thought Sonya.
cheers ..the league of common sense (my blog) applaudes you

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Superb idea for a blog. You deserved the "Blog of Note" status!


P.S. Typo in the first post, sorry.

Everymatter said...

congratulations for being on blogs of note

Elizabeth Anderson said...

What an inspirational and original idea for a blog! Kudos to you. What age groups do you see reading the most often? I grew up with my nose in a book and usually have several going at once.

Sunny said...

you have a great blog!
you have been tagged by me :)
please read my blog

grandmistress said...

Hello Sonya, your project is just fantastic! i study in a university and I am wondering if I should undertake a similar one. Its just great. I too am a committed reader. No matter how busy I am, I make sure that i read for an hour before getting into bed. Am right not laying seige on Elias Khoury's Gate of the Sun. Anyway, lovely blog!

duchampion said...

nice blog

Executive Sous Chef R. Alan said...

Great idea, this blog!

My nephew got inspired by Into the Wild. He wanted to run away to alaska until I reminded him that their was no Duncan Donuts in the wild.

See who bought Obama said...

What people still read? tabloids maybe.

reanire said...

please come give comments. i love your blog!! its awesome!

Ham said...

I love how you understand the importance of reading and how you express it in this blog. This is amazing! You said that you are reading "Air Guitar" and i was wondering if you would recommend it as a worth while read. Lately I have been reading some classics, as I just finished Catch-22 and am now reading A Clockwork Orange, but I have been looking for some modern books.

ao.roamer said...

How do you get his feeling,or just by imagnation, it's strange.

M said...

Hey, I've been reading your posts and just want you to know that this is such a great idea. I'm glad I'm not the only one reading and stumbling around trying to walk and read at the same time!

At my blog I ask people to tell me about their day in seven words or less. Just leave me a comment with your seven words, you can do it anonymously. Have a great day!

amits97 said...

Excellent blog!I enjoyed it

Please try mine

Sonya said...

Dear Phil,
Just what I need, a disturbing book about twins! Though, if you recommend, I'll check it out. It's got to be less disturbing than The Shining which, actually, almost did me in....I watched it with my sister in an old hotel that had been shut down for the season.
Thanks again for talking with me last night!

Sonya said...

Hi Kat,
Where are you from?

Sonya said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I see ALL age groups reading. I don't think there's one age group that reads significantly more than others (in public, anyway). It's funny though, sometimes I find myself gravitating towards people my age to interview--they know what blogs are and are less skeptical about having their post on the internet. Yet, the elderly are sometimes really charmed by the idea and they know SO MUCH.

I'd like to have more children on the blog, but, unless they're with their parents to ask permission, I don't take their pictures.


Sonya said...

Dear Grandmistress,
If you start a similar project, let me know and I'll add a link!


Sonya said...

Dear Ham,
I'm liking Air Guitar more and more as I get into it. It's about his childhood and living as an adult in Las far that's what the book is about, anyway. He has some interesting perspectives. Right now I'm reading about how, when he was an kid and getting used to new schools, because his parents moved around a lot, being interested in cars and collecting model cars was sort of this social currency that he could latch on to that was consistent in his life. Kids everywhere were into cars.

He talks about style and nostalgia, has some funny stories.

Sonya said...

Dear Aliqot,
Re: your into the wild Dunkin' donuts remark.

This reminds me of a story one of my Montana friends told. They had some out of town visitors, city people, and they were taking them to hike up a mountain, in a sort of remote location. They began joking about how, when they got to the top they'd get something at the Dairy Queen....and, when they got to the top and OBVIOUSLY there was no Dairy Queen, there were actually hard feelings.

aliqot said...

Hi again,

I think it was someone else who made the Dunkin Donuts remark. lol.
executive sous-chef etc.

You know, I'm 60, and there are loads of people my age and older who blog now and are involved with websites.
People in their seventies and eighties, who have time for this now they don't have to work full-time any more.

I really enjoy what you;re doing here.

Literary Auntie said...

One time, I was walking down the street around dinnertime, and I happened to glance into a bar/restaurant. There was a man sitting at a crowded bar, reading a book as he sipped his beer. To this day, I wish I'd stopped to see what he was reading.

This is such a good idea.

NathanKP said...

Foxfire is a very fantastic book series. I have several of the original editions. Its a great idea.

NathanKP - The Ink Weaver Collection - Writing Showcase Blog

a.j. Fare said...

Your blog is brilliant. I'm going to link it to my favourite blogs now.

DURANGO said...

Great work Sonya, I only wish that more people read in MY city,(Memphis,Tn.) it might bring them more compassion for their fellow man and maybe even get them to vote with some knowledge of the issues! I love SFran, and I miss the people there. Now I have one more to miss!

Chris of the City said...

Wow! This is an excellent blog, and it is a very unique and wonderful idea. I still read a lot, and when I say read I mean not just books but also magazines and newspapers. In fact, the trend of declining newspaper readership is very disturbing to me. As a young man who still reads the newspaper I find it upsetting that fewer people my age seem to be reading the paper and keeping aware of current events.

So by encouraging people to keep reading through this blog, you are doing a good service. Congratulations on the blog, and thanks for maintaining it.

Chris of the City said...

Currently on my nightstand:

"Bridge of Sighs" by Richard Russo -- fantastic novel.
"Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut -- never read it before but it's very famous.

Jeanine said...

Great idea and neat way to meet people. I read so much I have no idea what the books were when I'm done! Just go on to the next one. I do freak if I'm down to my last one. In fact, in our small town library in the middle of Kansas, our librarian has encouraged us to put our initials in the book, so we can keep track of what we've read. I was taken aback at first (writing in a library book! Oh no),but it works, and heck, they are there to read and enjoy. And it helps her too, in case she needs to bring books to someone at home(yep, still happens). That way she won't bring one to them they have already read, which is so irritating.
Good blog. Congrats on Blogs of Note!

Anonymous said...

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Rolsen said...

I love your blog! I just started my own-it's nothing to brag about yet, but feel free to check it out

Paola said...

One more person congratulating you. Great blog! As a non-native english speaker I have benefited so much from reading, more than any other language-building activity. Oh, and the guy reading Into the Wild even looks like McCandless!(Maybe it's just the hair/beard.)Very interesting book and lifestyle.

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Phil Zerkel said...

Its me Phil, the fella you interviewed for this blog. Check out mine I just started, its got photography of the area I just moved to in N. California.